KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was Rangers row at the media availability Monday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City (yep, all the baseball players were at the football stadium), which meant that Adrian Beltre was just a few tables down from Yu Darvish.
Beltre would glance Darvish's way a few times, noticing the huge crowds that stayed steady for 45 minutes talking to the Japanese pitcher. It was one more example of the demands on Darvish this season and how he's handled them just fine. It's something that's impressed Beltre.
"We expected him to have a good season, but I don’t think we expected him to become accustomed to the U.S. so quickly," Beltre said. "We knew he had potential and what he did in Japan, but we didn’t know how well that would translate over here. He’s learned quick. When he’s in there, he’s in there to win the game. He battles. He has some games where he has trouble throwing strikes, but he comes back and he helps keep our team in the game."
Darvish feels like he's learned a lot in his short time in the big leagues and he knows that will only continue.
"I’m a better pitcher than I was the first day at camp," Darvish said through interpreter Joe Furukawa. "I think I’ve gotten stronger mentally. I’ve learned not to pay too much attention to the small details. So mentally, I’ve gotten strong."
Darvish has grown off the field too, and he's starting to pick up more and more English.
"The communication with the players is going well and it’s obviously better now because communication is improving," Darvish said. "I’ve always felt comfortable, even from the beginning. Aside from baseball, there isn’t too much culturally or anything I’ve struggled with or had a hard time adjusting."